Bb. Bibingka winning Pinoy hearts in NYC

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
Bb. Bibingka winning Pinoy hearts in NYC
Anthea’s Bb. Bibingka comes in various flavors.

The Fil-Am community in New York City (NYC) is slowly adjusting to the new normal, according to a report by Funfare’s NYC correspondent Felix Manuel.

“It has been more than a year since the Fil-Am Press Club of New York had an in-person event. Last week, we had the pleasure of welcoming the new Consul General Elmer Cato during the traditional Con Gen hour with the Press Club. But more than that in a while.”

Another happy news was Felix’s meeting with the now US-based 1988 Bb. Pilipinas International Anthea Robles.

“Anthea told us that she has a new venture which she calls Bb. Bibingka,” recalled Felix, this corner’s “beauty expert.”

Anthea Robles is flanked by Funfare’s NYC correspondent Felix Manuel and film buff Melissa Alviar.

Anthea started it at random and her friends loved it at first taste and encouraged her to market it.

Said Anthea, “I make sure to use the freshest ingredients. Bb. Bibingka comes in various flavors. Among the top favorites are Salted Egg and Cheese, Ube-Macapuno, Banana-Langka and Buko.”

The beauty queen also told Felix that in March last year, she caught COVID and was advised to rest at home. Luckily, her condition improved so she didn’t have to be hospitalized. When she got well, she donated plasma during a donation drive in the city.

The other day, Felix flew to Florida to cover the 2020 Miss Universe pageant

Philippine Consul General to New York Elmer Cato (center) with the members of the Fil-Am Press Club of NYC.

Meanwhile, here’s his report about the New Consul General:

A career diplomat with the rank of Chief of Mission Class II, Consul General Cato succeeds Consul General Petronila Garcia who retired in January. Cato arrived from Libya where he served for two years as Chargé d’Affaires, e.p. and Head of Mission of the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli. A journalist before joining the foreign service, Cato had served in various capacities in the Philippines and abroad in the past 22 years.

His first overseas posting was at the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations from 2003 to 2010 where he also served as a member of the Philippine Delegation to the UN Security Council from 2004 to 2005.

Cato was assigned to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. from 2012 until he volunteered to go to Iraq where he served as Chargé d’Affaires, e.p. and Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Philippines in Baghdad from 2015 to 2018.

At the Home Office, Cato served as Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy and later for Strategic Communications during the terms of Foreign Affairs Secretaries Alan Peter Cayetano and Teodoro Locsin Jr. from 2018 to 2019.

During the term of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Cato was designated Special Assistant for Special Projects at the Office of Administration; Director for Intelligence of the Intelligence and Security Unit under the Office of the Secretary; and Executive Director of the National Council on United Nations Peace Operations from 2010 to 2012.

Cato served as Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs Secretary Domingo Siazon Jr. and Teofisto Guingona; spokesperson and Officer-in-Charge of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement; and as Officer in Charge of the Regional Consular Office in San Fernando and Clark Field, Pampanga. He is a recipient of the Gawad Mabini, one of the highest awards the Government of the Philippines can bestow on Filipino diplomats, for initiating the public-private partnership that led to the transfer of consular offices to shopping malls across the country.

Cato joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1998 after passing the Foreign Service Officers Examination of 1996. He also passed the Career Ministers Examination of 2013. Before joining the Foreign Service, Cato was a journalist for 17 years who started as a 16-year-old cub reporter. He was also an overseas worker in Jeddah and Jakarta.

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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